The body’s mode f communication leads to a mutual understanding and bond between people. In thoughtfully dissecting a still from Society’s film depicting Hanna placing Josef hand on the scars of her naked breasts, one can clearly see these values at work. The action of the scene expresses not only the full effect of Henna’s trauma, but also her shedding of emotional walls and subsequent sexual comfort with Josef, showing the budding of their bond. The action effectively showcases the impact of the body on Josef understanding of Henna’s emotional journey.
To highlight their bonding moment, the lighting, bare setting, and props are riddled tit meaning, adding to the purpose and intent of this scene. The connection between Henna’s and Josef bodies, and the body’s message about Henna’s experience, can be better understood by first considering the severity of her trauma. In the previous scene, Hanna recounts the shocking tale of how she and her friend were kidnapped during the Yugoslav Wars by soldiers from her side of the war.
She tells Josef how she and her friend were put in a sex trafficking hotel and were continuously raped by Croatian and U.
N. Soldiers. Hanna then explains that to punish her friend for screaming while being raped the soldiers UT her friend all over her body and put salt in the WOUnds to “give her a reason to scream. ” The details of her story are important to remember because, though Hanna says her friend was the one tortured, Henna’s body “says” differently. After Hanna finishes the story, she slowly unbuttons her shirt, haphazardly letting it fall to the crook of her elbows, to reveal scars, which are vitally important to how the body speaks when words fall flat.
Hanna told Josef that her friend was the one tortured when, indeed, Hanna was the actual victim. She uses her body to speak for her. Her chest, arms, breasts, and nipples are riddled with large, raised pink scars. She takes Josef s hand from her cheek, where he had placed it to comfort her, and leads it down to her scars. The still shows how she has guided his hand to the scars atop her left breast. In this instance, Henna’s body fills in the gaps of her story to Josef in the most impacting way. Despite his blindness, he can now see that she was actually tortured and realizes its severity.
The limited nature of words does not allow Hanna to fully explain the lasting emotional pain she is experiencing. Her words cannot bridge the gap of past pain ND fully explain it to where he can literally feel it?it is simply impossible. To understand why Hanna Uses her body, it is necessary to understand the role of pain and its interplay with language and the senses. Pain, in its essence, deconstructs language and starkly reminds the receiver of their individuality in how pain is unable to be shared.
Elaine Scary, in the introduction of her book The Body in Pain, explains that, “whatever pain achieves, it achieves in part through its unsuitability and it ensures this unsuitability through its resistance to language” (4). She contends that words evoke hazy images and recollections n the receiver’s mind because of the abstract and subjective nature of words. The sight and touch of the permanent mark of a painful experience shatters the fantasy image and lets the viewer literally see and feel the exact depth, height, color, and texture of the experience’s mark.
The physical touch, body-to-body, cements the painful experience because it has moved from abstract subjectivity to tangibility. Words can almost only effectively fill in as a narrative for the story of how the lasting marks came to be. The interaction through sight and touch with the body’s physical manifestation of the experience changes the viewer’s linings from sympathy to empathy. Josef reaction to feeling Henna’s scars further verifies the change in perception of another person’s pain. His reaction is due to the physical touch of pain’s marks, proving how vital Henna’s body is to his understanding of her experience.
Even though he is temporarily blind, he can feel the texture, depth, height, length, and approximate location of the scars, which breaks the wall of imagination and establishes the horrific experience in his mind. Josef looks sad, sympathetic, and almost silently disgusted with her captors when Hanna tells the story. When she places his hand upon her scars, is face changes to sheer horror, and he begins to uncontrollably sob. He now knows that Hanna was indeed the “friend” in her story. The change in his facial expression shows his internal change from sympathy for her to empathy with her.
For Josef, the horror of her experience is so much more real to him now that their bodies are connected, and he can feel the scars of her past in between them. Henna’s touch shows Josef the reality of the trauma while Josef touch allows him to understand her experience and express his hurt for her through his tears. His change of expression from sadness to horror shows how her body as made more of an impact than her words. Henna’s act of allowing Josef to learn her secret through his touch shows her acceptance of and openness about the trauma as well as the development of her emotional journey.
The fact that Hanna reveals her trauma through her naked body shows Josef and the audience the breakdown of her emotional walls. Throughout the film, Hanna has shown signs of extreme introversion, obsessive-compulsive tendencies, and bitterness in social interactions. During the meeting with her boss, she apathetically, if not slightly bitterly, sits back as he speaks, and she ads virtually nothing to the conversation. When she is flown to the oil rig to care for Josef, she slowly begins to come out of her shell. She tries new food and defends it to other workers who complain.
She begins interacting more with other people aboard the rig, but more importantly, she begins interacting much more with Josef. She gradually begins to speak more frequently to Josef and even jokes around with him. Her emotional and social blossoming culminates when she confides in Josef and reveals her body to him. Despite the audience’s understanding of her comfort with Josef, her nudity is still quite shocking engendering how overly clothed she was for the majority of the movie, which adds to the impact made by her body.
In the bottom right of the shot, the edge of her loose pink shirt is barely shown, draped in the crook of her elbow. Throughout the movie, she wears layers of very professional clothing or scrubs when caring for Josef. In this scene, she suddenly wears a transparent pink shirt with no bra. Her big shift in fashion hints at a change in attitude and shows her forethought? she knew in advance she was going to reveal her secret to Josef. The sheer shirt is the hint to the audience that she has made a decision to be open with Josef bout her trauma, which shows how she now trusts him.
Even the fact that it is so haphazardly tucked in her elbow shows her lack of concern of how much skin she is showing. Taking Henna’s nudity a step further, the fact that she willingly has Josef touch her shows the internal change she has experienced. Throughout the movie, she holds everyone at arm’s length, so to speak, allowing no one to get too close to her. She has brief interactions with the oceanographer and cook, but she does not let them really learn about who she is or where she has come from. She even goes so far as to avoid telling the cook her nationality despite his interest in cooking ethnic dishes.
By allowing Josef to know the intimacies of her past and then to touch her body, she is showing him she trusts him with the most personal part of her life and her body. She trusts that he will not abuse her as others did, and she trusts that he will be understanding of why she has been so reserved. She willingly decides to bare the truth of the situation to him through her body and allows him to touch her in a very personal area, showing the breakdown of her walls and her trust in him. The openness she exhibits with her body shows her emotional openness with her feelings and experiences.
Henna’s emotional comfort with Josef shown through her body also extends to her sexual comfort with him. The fact that she bares her breasts, despite their scars, shows her sexual comfort with Josef. Her nudity shows the renewed security in her feminine sexuality, security in Josef masculinity, and the budding of sexual feelings for Josef. One could assume that if she did not have a significant level of sexual comfort or even interest with Josef, then she would have just allowed him to touch her upper chest and arms.
In looking at all of her scars, there are plenty enough on her chest, shoulders, and arms to have made her point to Josef. She could have still worn a bra, bared her scars, and still have made an impact. Even though he is blind and obviously cannot see her naked breasts, she still has no reason to feel the need to completely unbutton her shirt and let it carelessly hang at her side in front of a man. Interestingly enough, she basically admits that Josef s accent reminds her of the U. N. Oldie’s who turned a blind eye to her capture and possibly joined in raping her when she previously stated her prejudice against him. This association alone shows her newfound sexual comfort with him in that she can look past his similarity with the soldiers. Moreover, the trauma of rape leaves lasting feelings of distrust of others, especially of men, so this situation shows her security in her sexuality with him. It is also essential to understand the impact of rape and torture on the female psyche to fully understand how Henna’s nudity shows her sexual comfort.
Rape is a direct attack on femininity and tenderness; it strips women of a sense of comfort in, and control over, their sexuality and can leave them feeling vulnerable, used, and distrustful, particularly of men. Knowing Henna’s past, she has every right to feel extra conscious of her breasts as sexual objects and to ant to hide them as much as possible, especially since they are scarred. Though her torso is riddled with scars, the shot shows how the concentration of cuts resides on her breasts and a large one sits across her right nipple.
The concentration of scars, especially the large one across her nipple, shows how the torture was a direct attack on her femininity, botching one of the most sacred, beautiful and life-giving parts of her body. After the sexual trauma, it is a big step for her to bare her breasts when she did not necessarily have to. Henna’s sexual comfort with Josef even hints at budding romantic interest in him, which is evident in her actions. In the following shot, Josef holds her as they both cry and briefly kiss.
The beauty of the scene is that the kiss is a moment of pure connection and comfort with the inkling of the idea of a sexual connection between them. Henna’s nudity and their kiss in any other circumstance could indicate the initiation of sex, but in the context of this moment, it is simply an act of intimate connection and comfort?a way of trying to impart tenderness and camaraderie after reminiscing of intense violence and betrayal. The kiss was not a sexual invitation, but the crossing of that small boundary hints that Hanna may sire more from Josef than just camaraderie in the future.
The focus of the scene is undoubtedly on the explanation of Henna’s trauma, but going deeper, it seems that her emotional journey has lead her to be comfortable in her sexuality as well. Hanna uses her body to show her sexual comfort towards Josef by placing his hand on her breasts without reservation despite her past sexual abuse. To accentuate Hanna and Josef moment of connection and bonding, Cootie manipulates the lighting to fit the purpose of the shot. The lighting is an important tool because of how it effectively sets the focal point of the shot while eating the tone and ambiance of the scene.
Cootie used the lighting to center the attention on Hanna and Josef and to show a moment of enlightenment for Josef. Henna’s breasts and chest are softly illuminated, while a slightly brighter beam falls across her cheekbone. The soft lighting on Hanna accentuates the soft curves of her breast and facial features, which draws attention to her feminine beauty. Her right breast is somewhat in the shadow of Josef hand, but her scars are still visible, just softened by the shadow.
In essence, the soft lighting on her front establishes her femininity while still displaying her scars for the first time. The lighting from behind Hanna is harshly bright and turns her blond hair almost white. The bright light passes onto Josef, which falls on his jailing and chest. Though he is only in the corner of the shot and out of focus, Josef is illuminated to the extent of almost being in black and white due to the depth of the shadows and brilliance of the highlights. Josef is being enlightened to the truth of Henna’s situation by the marks on her body.
The passing of light from Hanna to Josef symbolizes the moment of enlightenment between them while the soft light on Hanna enhances her femininity. Cootie also Uses symbolic items in the background to enhance the feeling of the scene and add to Henna’s emotional journey. Though the background of the shot is mostly in shadow, a towel and a bottle of blue soap are sitting atop a counter. The fluffy cream towel appears softly in shadow in the same way as Henna’s skin, mirroring the softness of her skin in the dim lighting.
The towel and the soap symbolize a cleansing moment for Hanna. She seems to have finally let go of the hatred of the past because she tells Josef about the trauma with no words or undertones of hatred or anger. She s “washing” away her past prejudices and hatred by confiding in Josef, whose voice reminds her of some of her rapists. In looking past Josef unintentional similarity to the U. N. Troops, she is “washing” away the pain, hatred, and prejudice that the sexual abuse has caused.
She has metaphorically scrubbed it away, dried herself off, and is now moving on with her life. The bodes power of perfectly communicating truth and emotion to others is abundantly clear in this shot of Hanna and Josef. Hanna communicates the severity of her experience to Josef more effectively by having him touch her scars Han simply trying to tell him about her pain. Through her interaction with Josef on the rig, Hanna has experienced emotional healing and a renewed sense of security in her womanhood, and she proves this by letting Josef touch her scars.
The fact that the scene lacks dialogue enhances the moment of connection and understanding through the body because it is the only mode of communication in this shot. Josef cannot see, so he cannot receive information about her story through his eyes. Hanna becomes silent, so he does not receive any more information through her words. The way he receives information is in the most angle and concrete way– through the connection of his fingertips and her skin, body-to-body.
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